Ken left his apartment and began the walk to the end of the hall, in approximately sixty feet and six inches he would find himself at her door. He’d had his eye on the short blonde since she’d moved into his complex some three weeks ago. As of yet he’d been entirely unsuccessful in his attempts to strike up a conversation. He’d sat across from her at the pool but she’d been reading and he didn’t want to disturb her. He’d seen her struggling up the steps with her arms full of groceries but Tim from across the hall had beaten him to her rescue. He’d even ended up alone in the elevator with her but just as he’d started to open his mouth, her cell phone rang and she took the call. Today however was going to be his day, he was going to stop waiting for a lucky bounce and make his own luck. He was headed directly to her door and well, if he struck out, at least he’d go down swinging.
“The count is 2-0 here in the bottom of the ninth, two outs, two on and the Rangers trail by two. Carpenter checks the sign, shakes him off and checks again, heres the wind up and the pitch, swing and a miss! Strike one! Hamilton was swinging for the fences on that one.”
As he made his way down the hall towards her apartment he found himself studying his surroundings in a way he had never before felt the need to. He noticed the discoloration in the carpet, the seams in the shoddily applied wallpaper, the doors on the right side of the hallway had fresh coats of paint while the doors on the left side were flaking and fading. He noticed Toms door was missing its number, the middle eastern family across from Tom had a silver doorknob as opposed to the gold everyone else had, and he noticed that he was almost to her door and couldn’t remember the spiel he’d rehearsed for half an hour before leaving. He’d been so focused on everything around him in an attempt to keep his mind off of how nervous he was that he’d forgotten just what it was he was going to say.
“This home crowd has raised to a fever pitch here in Arlington Texas. Their Rangers are down to their final two strikes in game seven of the World Series. Carpenter has his sign, he winds, he delivers, Hamilton smashes a long arcing drive down the left field line!! This one could get out!! Ohh it is foul by just a few feet and the Rangers are now down to their final strike.
Ken stopped in front of her door and paused to collect his thoughts. He went over his plan in his head. Keep it simple, be direct, exude confidence, keep it simple, be direct, exude confidence, keep it simple, be direct, exude confidence. Introduce yourself, compliment her, ask her if she would like to get together. Easy enough, right? Of course it is. He was an attractive enough guy, well groomed and fit. And so what if she does say no? Is that really such a big deal? He will just tell her it was nice to meet her and that he will see her around the complex and then just go about his day. See her around the complex, yeah he will see her around the complex. She lives at the end of his hall, they share a pool, a laundry room, the rec area on the first floor. Surely that won’t be entirely awkward due to her informing him of his not being good enough to even consider a date with. A decision that could be based only on his looks as she knows little to nothing about him. Nope, not awkward at all.
“This is it folks, Hamilton, the last hope of the Rangers is down to his final strike, one more swing and miss and the Cardinals are World Series Champions. From the belt, and this one is juuuuuuuust a bit outside. And the count is now full at thee balls and two strikes. Make or break pitch coming here from Carpenter.
Ken breathed in slowly and out steadily, he calmed his heart and reached forward to knock on the door. Nothing.
He waited. He thought to himself. ”Maybe she isn’t even home, maybe this was all for nothing” He heard some rustling behind the door. She was home. The door swung in and there she stood. She came to about his chin, she stared up at him with piercing blue eyes, smiling from underneath a messy mop of bleached blonde hair with just a hint of dark roots showing. She wore a tight fitting black t-shirt with a bright green zombie on the front of it, her short sleeves showed off multiple tattoos of the seemingly common theme of horror movies. Her black skinny jeans were offset by her neon green studded belt and green converse all-stars. She was if anything, intimidating. She smiled and offered a hello. He fumbled a bit, off to a bad start.
“Hi, I’m Ken”
“Hi, I’m Barbie”
Ken laughed nervously and replied
“Ohh um, what a strange coincidence”
“I’m just fucking with you dude, my name is Jessica, my parents weren’t fucking retarded”
She laughed in a way that made him feel more like he was being laughed at than laughed with.
He plowed ahead undeterred.
“Well I’ve seen you around the building and I really like your style, I was wondering if maybe you would want to get together sometime, maybe for drinks or something?”
“Oh, yeah sure, that sounds like fun. Just ya know, don’t try to fuck me or anything, I’m totally fucking gay.” ”See ya around”
And with that she slammed the door in his face.
Leaving him alone with his confusion and a whole new set of insecurities.
“Swing and a miss! He is out! And thats a winner!! A World Series Winner for the Cardinals! The players are storming the field and all has gone quiet here in Arlington as the fans sit in a stunned silence!